University of Victoria political historian, Penny Bryden, found that Canadians are more bothered my misspent taxpayers’ dollars than any other political scandal.
In her latest research, Bryden found that while United States and United Kingdom voters are absorbed by sex scandals, “in Canada, we get outraged about misspent money more than anything else. Money is rarely far from the centre of a Canadian political scandal.”
Bryden has recorded more than 1,000 financial scandals in Canada since 1867. The first major political scandal was in 1873, resulting in the downfall of Sir John A. Macdonald and his Conservative government. More recently was the sponsorship scandal, which was contributed to the downfall of the federal Liberals in 2006.
Bryden organizes scandals into six categories: financial, crisis, loyalty, sex, security, and entitlement. Scandals also have three components: a transgressive act, the attempt to coverup, and traction with the public.
Due to these categories, Bryden doesn’t believe the SNC-Lavalin affair qualifies as a scandal. “Political parties can be hurt by things that aren’t scandals.”
A database of Bryden’s research will be made available so researchers in other fields and continue to identify and analyze Canadian political scandals.